Is a project that received almost $1million over 5 years from the Public Health Agency of Canada and that funding is being matched by our local developers Doug Tarry Homes and Hayhoe Homes. In 2016, Elgin St. Thomas Public Health, the City of St. Thomas and representatives from Doug Tarry Homes and Hayhoe Homes worked together to develop a strategy to improve walkability city-wide. Over 1,000 community residents and stakeholders provided input in the creation of a Walkability Assessment and Action Plan. All of the community input and identified improvements were ranked against a research based tool to inform the creation of a prioritized list of improvements to sidewalks, trails, pedestrian crossings and pedestrian amenities. In addition to the prioritized list of improvements, the following recommendations resulted:
City of St. Thomas:
- Take ownership of the prioritized project lists and budget accordingly to complete projects on the lists;
- Implement the way finding plan and continue to develop it City-wide;
- Build pedestrian connectivity in parklands, naturalized spaces and connect parklands;
- Enhance and advertise connectivity in older neighbourhoods and throughout the city;
- Participate and contribute to regional trail networks;
- Support intensification and infill;
- Review snow removal practices for sidewalks and trails in the city to determine if a higher priority can be placed on clearing.
- Build for pedestrian connectivity in subdivisions by providing walkway connections between streets and cul-de-sacs, in parklands and naturalized spaces;
- Support new design standards and complete streets as they relate to sidewalks and improved connectivity;
- Support intensification and infill.
Elgin-St. Thomas Public Health:
- Explore models for Active and Safe Routes to Schools that are more streamlined and universal;
- Promote existing local and new opportunities for walking and physical activity;
- Work with all area municipalities on Active Transportation and trails;
- Work with school boards to encourage site plans that support healthy community design.
Other Stakeholders and Community Groups:
- Organize events and social gatherings to connect people and encourage them to be active – e.g. organized hikes, festivals etc.;
- Encourage Local Conservation Authorities to support new community developments that promote additional connections to nature, and to seek new ways to connect residents to properties in Conservation Authority ownership.
In future years, the partners will be working collaboratively to install new sidewalks, trails and walking amenities as well as promoting the wonderful walking options that exist in our community.